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Julia Kramer

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Mentoring Plan for PhD Students

Communication and Meetings

How would you describe your advising style? Does your approach vary over the course of a student's progress within their degree?

In general, my advising style is to be a guide for students. I encourage students to build their skills in conducting both independent and collaborative research, and I aim to provide structured guidance as opposed to prescriptive tasks.
That being said, I ask each student to reflect on what style of mentorship works best for them, so that we can collaboratively discuss and agree upon an advising approach that meets both of our needs.

What is the best way/technology for students to contact you? Are there time frames in which students should expect to hear from you?

I'm available on email, Slack, and Google Chat. I tend to stick to business hours as my times of communication, unless there are pressing deadlines when students and I are both aware of the need for communication availability outside of business hours. 

How often do you plan to meet with students one-on-one (be as specific as possible, it's okay to describe multiple styles that may vary with student needs)? Is an agenda required? How long are meetings?

I prefer to meet with students one-on-one once a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. I ask students to prepare an agenda in advance with points for discussion / strategizing and general progress updates. In addition, I have an open door policy and I encourage students to reach out to meet in person or on Zoom as needed. 

Do you have regular group meetings? What does student participation look like in a group meeting?

I currently do not have lab group meetings, but plan to do so in the future. During lab meetings, I intend for students to share with each other works-in-progress of research deliverables (e.g., data collection instruments, papers in preparation, draft conference presentations), updates on research progress, and areas that would benefit from group discussion. 

Research and Teaching Expectations

Describe your students' primary area(s) of responsibility and expectations (e.g., reading peer-reviewed literature, in-lab working hours, etc.).

Students are responsible for making progress across the full spectrum of research activities, including: reading and synthesizing peer-reviewed literature related to their research topic, planning and conducting data collection (which, in my lab, typically includes seeking IRB approval), analyzing data, and writing up research findings for dissemination. Students are also responsible for being collegial and collaborative members of the larger lab group, and should expect to contribute to group meetings and to building a shared culture.
Outside of lab, students are encouraged to explore their own research and career interests by conversing with other faculty and students on campus and by networking with peers and practitioners outside the university. 
I encourage students to work wherever they prefer (i.e., in lab vs. at home) as long as they are available for in-person meetings as needed for research progress. 

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

I have found the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidance helpful in determining questions of authorship. ICMJE recommends that authorship be determined by satisfaction of four criteria:
(1) Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
(2) Drafting the work or reviewing it critically for important intellectual content; AND
(3) Final approval of the version to be published; AND
(4) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Students are typically first authors, and therefore assume responsibility for drafting manuscripts and communicating with co-authors. Co-authorship order is typically determined by considering the extent to which co-authors have contributed to he paper / research effort, and co-authorship decisions will be made by mutual agreement between co-authors or by the first author and the senior author. I am typically the senior author, having provided supervision, funding, and guidance for the research effort. 

Do you ask students in your group to serve as a GSI over the course of their program?

I strongly encourage students to serve as a GSI, especially if they are interested in exploring a career as a professor, lecturer, teacher, or instructor of any other sort. I think that teaching is an incredibly valuable experience, even if the student ultimately decides they'd prefer a career without teaching responsibilities.

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

I expect students to be on top of the department's requirements for graduation (i.e., courses and exams), and I expect students to lead three journal publications. The normative timeline in my group is around 5 years.

Are you supportive of your students going on internships? If so, is there a time of year that is best? How many internships can they do?

I am generally supportive of students taking opportunities to advance their research and career goals. If students are interested in going on an internship, then we will mutually agree upon an appropriate time and duration to do so.

Opportunities for Feedback

How do you provide students with feedback regarding overall progress, research activities, etc.?

I provide overall feedback during one-on-one meetings with students. I also provide detailed feedback on research deliverables (e.g., data collection instruments, papers in preparation, draft conference presentations) in writing, usually via comments and track changes on Google Docs or Slides, etc. 

How far in advance of a deadline should a student expect to provide written work for feedback, such as publication drafts?

In general, I like to have at least two weeks to provide feedback on major works. I can usually review shorter works, like high-level outlines, in a week or less. If we're under deadline or back-and-forth on iterations of written works, students and I can mutually agree to review on a shorter review timeline. 

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

I encourage students to provide feedback to me during our one-on-one meetings.

Conference Attendance

Which meetings do your students generally attend? What funding is available to attend these meetings?

Students typically attend IDETC and ICED, both of which are focused on engineering design. Depending on a student's research, they are also encouraged to attend more topic-specific conferences (e.g., Design of Medical Devices conference). Students should apply for conference travel grants through Rackham, and otherwise funding will be provided by current grants. 

Time Away from Campus

Discuss expectations regarding vacations and time away from campus and how best to plan for them. What is the time-frame for notification regarding anticipated absences?

Students should do what they need for their own self-care, including the need to take breaks and to take time away from campus. I do the same! For times away from campus, I ask students to let me know with no less than two weeks notice. I also understand that emergencies and other unexpected things come up, and I support students in doing what they need to flexibly manage these emergent situations.
Students should consider deadlines they're responsible for when they plan time away from campus, and ensure they are able to balance their responsibilities with their breaks. 

Are there specific standard times that students in your group generally take vacation?

Winter break and June or July are typical vacation times, as they align with a slower pace of research and university operations.  

What do you do to facilitate students taking time off (e.g., do you proactively encourage people to take vacation after major deadlines)?

I like to see my students take meaningful breaks from work to rest and recharge, as long as students communicate with me when they intend to take time off and the proposed time off isn't in direct conflict with research deliverables. I encourage see students take around four weeks of time off during the year. 

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